iPad mini Using iPad Mini + hard drive to manage photos on trip

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Yukon867, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Yukon867, Oct 13, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014

    Yukon867 macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2014
    Hi there,

    I am backpacking parts of Asia (currently planning on Tibet, Nepal, and India) for anywhere up to 5 months. We are intending to keep weight down and travel with smaller than average backpacks. I do not want to carry my laptop. My biggest worry is losing photos - either due to equipment failure or theft.

    I have a DSLR camera and generally shoot in RAW+JPEG.

    I purchased an iPad Mini, Lightning camera adapter, and a powered hard drive after watching/reading several tutorials online about jail breaking the iPad and downloading an app which would allow to me load photos to the iPad, preview them (delete the ones I don't want, etc) and then transfer them from the iPad to my external hard drive (which will be plugged into a power source at the same time as into the iPad).

    Has anyone done this? My only worry is frying the hard drive by plugging it into a wall plug-in.

    I intend to also set up a Dropbox (recommendations on this, is it the best online way to go?) but strongly suspect that wifi will be limited in a lot of places where I go. I also wonder how practical this will be considering that internet speeds may be poor and I will likely be taking upwards of 60 RAW images per day or more. Has anyone used this service and can they speak to how slow/quick it works?

    I have considered simply using internet cafes to load my photos and then transfer them to a hard drive but I don't know how easily these will be found and also worry about picking up viruses.

    All in all I would like to use the iPad combined with external hard drive, Dropbox when I reach internet if practical, along with maintaining multiple memory cards so that if my camera gets stolen at least I have past memory cards. It may be a bit over the top but I'm also considering carrying multiple small thumb drives and backing up to those as well. That way I have multiple copies of photos in different places.


    Thanks in advance!
  2. Yukon867 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2014
    alternately.. I just discovered this lil guy

    Seagate Wireless Plus Portable External Hard Drive For iPad

    a review that I read claims that it does not need to have internet/wifi access, which is ideal… so would this work for photos?


    Or this. Apparently wireless external hard drives exist :eek:

    G-CONNECT Wireless 500GB Hard Drive

    I'm having a hard time understanding whether there is truly a difference between "wireless" and "wifi". If I understand correctly, I could use these without a wifi connection right?
  3. HobeSoundDarryl, Oct 13, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Yes wifi hard drives are essentially a bigger storage "cloud" that follows you. Shoot your photos or videos on your iPad and store them on one of those. If you manage to find some fast Internet (which you are right, isn't as easy as many might suspect) upload them to Dropbox or many other options as an extra backup. If you happen to find fast internet in a hotel room, set up the upload at night and let it do it's thing while you sleep.

    My wife did that same trip (but not for so long) and also wanted to pack light, so it was just an iPad. Before she left, she cleared as much room as possible on the iPad and didn't fill it up. However, if you are shooting raw photos, those will be much larger than shooting photos with the iPad camera.

    Another option is to buy more high-capacity cards for the camera. This may be the best option for your purposes. Do the math to store your approx. 60 shots per day to figure out how much capacity you will need. If you are going to prune out bad photos each day, you may find that this works out better than anything else.

    Combined, you could backup your "good" shots to that hard drive, try to upload them to any of the services like Dropbox when you can and maybe throw full cards into FedEX or similar boxes and send them home. If the cards get lost, you still have 1-2 backups. If the hard drive gets lost, you still have 1-2 backups. If Dropbox failed (unlikely), you still have 1-2 backups.

    I wouldn't be overly worried about viruses at Internet cafes. You're not downloading software, just accessing the Internet. However, I wouldn't bank much on finding Internet cafes that can handle fast uploads. Uploading RAW files via shared wifi is probably going to take too long. The wife rarely found wifi fast enough to do the most basic of things so I wouldn't count on finding much broadband while you are there.

    Don't forget to get a compatible plug for the electricity there. Be sure to charge your iPad anytime you get a chance (you won't always have ready access for charging). If you wanted to pack one more thing, consider a battery backup for iPad so that you could recharge a time or two with the battery until you get to the next place with a socket.

    If it was me and I was going for 5 months, I think I'd look at buying a MacBook Air with a lot of storage and taking it with or without the iPad. It would give you more utility in combination with that camera and it could likely store up to the whole trip's photos. If I went that way, I wouldn't bother with the wifi hard drive but might still consider getting more storage cards for the camera rather than dumping the photos to the Air and then reusing the cards. There's 512GB Airs in the refurb store right now for < $1300 and even an older, used one could do the trick of mostly being used as mobile iPhoto. If you go this way, you could buy large storage, cheap USB drives and/or a portable hard drive (1TB < $60) to use with that MB Air if you were worried about filling the 512GB.

    Lastly, check ahead where you'll be staying and see what kind of wifi they have. Ask how fast it is. Do they have a business office with computers hooked up to the Internet? Is that wired broadband? That might be the best ways to upload big files rather than hoping for sustained accessed to some fast wifi.
  4. Yukon867 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2014
    Thanks for the help, there were a couple of tips that I found useful :) I think I will look more into the wireless hard-drives.

    I want to avoid bringing a laptop - I suspect that I will be staying in some places where even theft in the rooms may be a concern. I will be bringing my own padlock of course but really hate the thought of leaving a $1000+ computer in my room while I'm out and about. While I will be carrying my DSLR and other obvious valuables like my money/cards and passport on me at all times (along with one form of my photos, I'm thinking I will go with multiple memory cards as you suggested), I don't want to pack a laptop around with me all day.

    It's actually part of the reason I went with the cheaper and less conspicuous iPad mini (I've actually gone so far as to create a case for it out of an old hard cover book so that if someone does happen to gain access to it maybe they would just overlook it as a book, haha).

    Unfortunately calling ahead in advance to most hotels won't be an option as we are just winging most of the trip, but I'm sure that every now and then I will come across somewhere with decently fast internet!

    Thanks for the additional tips as well - I did already pick up a small battery pack for the iPad.


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